President's Perspective Blog

Doing Better: Ensuring Every Member Can Be Represented

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AFP ICON 2022 was a rousing success in so many ways. It was incredible to see so many of you from across North America and around the world joining us in Las Vegas, May 2 – 4. I’ve heard so many positive comments about what people learned; how inspired you are to get back to your organization and implement new ideas; and how amazing it was to be back in-person with your community.

But there are some aspects of the conference we need to improve on, and I want to mention one of them specifically.

Eid al Fitr, which was celebrated May 1 – 2 in 2022, marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Eid is one of two official holidays in Islam and is celebrated by the Muslim community across the globe.

Having our conference begin during Eid presented our Muslim friends and colleagues with a difficult decision. And for that, on behalf of the AFP board and staff, I apologize and promise that we will do better.

What does that mean—to do better? My promise is this: Moving forward with AFP ICON, AFP LEAD and other AFP Global events, we will choose dates that are as accommodating to as many different faiths and other identities as possible so that every member can be present and represented.

And when it is not possible—when dates conflict with certain holidays or celebrations and we cannot move our event—I promise that we will bring together members of the impacted community and discuss how we can move forward and provide necessary accommodations if and when appropriate.

For example, we are locked into dates for ICON 2024 in Toronto where the last day of the conference ends in the afternoon and Eid begins that evening. We are already working with our Muslim friends and colleagues to see how we can best support and accommodate those members who will be with us for AFP ICON that day.

Part of being committed to IDEA and ensuring that every member has the same opportunities to find success is acknowledging and learning from our mistakes. We will do better, we will continue to forge ahead with our IDEA efforts using what we’ve learned from this, and we will do everything we can to welcome the full AFP community to AFP ICON 2023 in New Orleans and to all of our events in the future.

Being a part of the AFP community is amazing, but the experience is not the same if not all of us can be present and represented.

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Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA

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